Photography by Naeema Kapadia
Team Homelovelifestyle loves hearing from our readers especially when they want to share their unique home with us! The apartment of content creator, columnist & food blogger Reesham and Aly Asghar Naqvi – freelance website creator is unlike any other Team Homelovelifestyle has visited. As soon as you enter, you are blown away by the color and sheer scale of things in this Collector’s Unique Apartment. The couple has displayed memorabilia and artworks everywhere, literally from floor to ceiling.
But as one begins to examine the minutiae and detail packed into this space, it becomes clear that this is a labour of love. And there is thought, order and a distinct method to this incredible arrangement.
While most collector’s focus on art or antiques, Aly Asghar’s collection of seemingly random objects could serve as a documentation of popular culture and makes a fascinating study.
We sat down for a fun chat with the creative twosome to find out what lies behind this unusual display.
Wow! So when did you start collecting?
Aly: I think about 2007, movie posters were the first thing. Then I left for college in England and started collecting lots of different things. I put them into storage to keep them safe.
I have kept everything, from childhood toys to action figures to books. Everything!
Tell us about your home?
Aly: We moved here about 5 years ago. Before that we lived with my parents, but here we had so much more space to show off all the things I have been collecting for years.
So Reesham how do you deal with living with a collector?
Reesham: Initially I was surprised by how many things Aly had collected. Then when we displayed all the things and people started to appreciate it, I was happy too.
Aly collects all kinds of things…like in the dining room there is a coffee cup from every café we have visited ever. Our friends also bring back things from their travels for Aly because they know he loves collecting so much.
When we moved into this place, we had more room to display everything. But now it’s so full of stuff (laughs) we may have to move again.
And how do visitors react to your place?
Some people already have an idea because of the pictures we keep putting up. Some ask us ‘Were you at a restaurant?’ when they see the background.
People who come over who have absolutely no idea they usually get shocked, and they want to make snap chat videos and Instagram stories… They find that also an art …how everything is displayed carefully on the walls and shelves! That’s something they enjoy!
You have a young daughter, how does she interact with all the objets etc.?
Reesham: She is six now and when she was small we decided to not put away any of the stuff in the home. She doesn’t touch anything, but her friends are fascinated when they visit.
Aly: I like to keep an eye to make sure the other kids don’t break anything.
Tell us about some of your favourite pieces?
Aly: Well this pink chair is an antique bought by my Dada in 1946 and brought to Pakistan. I have a pair of glasses said to belong to Gandhi that were bought by my dad at an auction in London. He collects too, but more paintings and art works. I guess I inherited this collecting gene from him (laughs).
I collect everything that fascinates me, like these typewriters I pick up in London. Usually from Notting Hill and the Portobello market! Also old radios, I got some from Saddar in Karachi as well.
You collect Buddha statues as well?
Aly: When we got married, my khala gave us a Buddha statue. So I started collecting those too. I have mostly bought those on my travels and some online as well.
I have over 120 Buddhas in my drawing room at last count.
And who cleans all these things?
Aly: Well we have a guy who has been with the family for 18 years, who dusts and cleans. He has a system by which he does one room per day to keep it all in order.
Reesham: Aly has a precise order for everything he collects. I always think there is no place to display more (laughs) and then he gets a custom shelf added to the walls and adds more stuff.
Have you ever considered opening up this Collector’s Unique Apartment to the public?
Reesham: A couple of our friends have given us the idea that we should open it up for people, maybe tourists and it could be twice a month. We have been thinking along those lines…our privacy will be compromised…But if people really appreciate it…we might consider it once a month, maybe.
This Collector’s Unique Apartment was just fabulous to visit and we loved chatting to these two vibrant personalities.